Human-level CMR image analysis with deep fully convolutional networks

by   Wenjia Bai, et al.

Cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging is a standard imaging modality for assessing cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), the leading cause of death globally. CMR enables accurate quantification of the cardiac chamber volume, ejection fraction and myocardial mass, providing a wealth of information for sensitive and specific diagnosis and monitoring of CVDs. However, for years, clinicians have been relying on manual approaches for CMR image analysis, which is time consuming and prone to subjective errors. It is a major clinical challenge to automatically derive quantitative and clinically relevant information from CMR images. Deep neural networks have shown a great potential in image pattern recognition and segmentation for a variety of tasks. Here we demonstrate an automated analysis method for CMR images, which is based on a fully convolutional network (FCN). The network is trained and evaluated on a dataset of unprecedented size, consisting of 4,875 subjects with 93,500 pixelwise annotated images, which is by far the largest annotated CMR dataset. By combining FCN with a large-scale annotated dataset, we show for the first time that an automated method achieves a performance on par with human experts in analysing CMR images and deriving clinical measures. We anticipate this to be a starting point for automated and comprehensive CMR analysis with human-level performance, facilitated by machine learning. It is an important advance on the pathway towards computer-assisted CVD assessment.


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